Posts Tagged With: reviews

Book Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold – 3/5

Thousand Pieces of Gold by Ruthanne Lum McCunn

gold

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s hard to rate these kinds of books anything by the highest rating. I mean, how terrible and calloused of me is it to rate a book about a young Chinese girl who is sold by her family only three stars? But I have to be honest – it just lost me after the first third of the book.

I’m just going to come out and say it. After Lalu gets to the U.S., her life just really isn’t that bad. Now before I start getting hate mail, I understand there was a lot of fear and challenge in her life and I absolutely marvel at that. I get that Lalu was an amazing and strong individual and this is the story of her life. I just felt like the first part, when she was really young, was the true essence of the story. She kind of found her happily ever after – so why did the book keep going?

That’s always my problem with biographies, in all honesty. We’re always forced to read right up to the very end. But someone’s death isn’t always the climax of their life. This needed to end far sooner and it would have proved to be, overall, much more entertaining and impactful.

I can’t say I’m sorry to have learned about Lalu’s life – I am glad that I know this woman existed. I just wasn’t entirely thrilled with the portrayal of her story. I’d only recommend this to someone who has a very keen interest in that time period and geography, otherwise it’s likely not worth your time.

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Book Review: The Other Typist – 3/5

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell

typist

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well.

So, this book, if you haven’t already heard, has a strange ending. It’s a very confusing one at that and, unfortunately, for me, puts the whole book into a tailspin. Prior to the last couple of chapters, this would have been a much higher rating.

I don’t want this to get spoiler-y, but some people are comparing the book a sort of “Sixth Sense” – where you feel like you need to re-watch it in order to understand the ending. In my opinion, this is more like a much lower caliber of horror story (think Hide-and-Seek, or any other similar styled movies) where there’s a “trick” ending, but going back and watching it again doesn’t help. Part of me wants to read this story again, but I don’t think that would clarify. Perhaps I am wrong, but I get the feeling that Rindell didn’t make a firm understanding one way or the other and we just have to decide for ourselves.

Anyone remember watching Shutter Island with Leo DiCaprio? Where you don’t know for sure at the end whether or not the top will fall? This is that kind of book. I truthfully don’t think the answer is there, and I personally think that’s a cop-out.

Aside from that, I think the book is really well done. I enjoyed the writing of it, I enjoyed Rose’s voice, and I liked the setting.

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Book Review: The Lies of Locke Lamora – 3/5

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

locke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book and I have a love/hate relationship. I find it really hard to give it a rating. I had a hard time getting into it from the start. It wasn’t that it was bad. In fact, I found it pretty funny (I personally love excessive swearing). But nothing really caught me. Still, I pressed on.

There’s this big block in the middle that is legitimately interesting. You have intrigue, good plot, twists and turns, it’s truly marvelous. I was seriously caught up.

Then there’s some crazy shizz that happens. Everything hits the fan. And normally that would hook me more… but it didn’t. Because when everything hits the fan is not the climax of the book. It’s like… 4/5 of the way through. So there’s this part after the climax that’s just plain boring. Seriously. I was way too sunk into reading it to stop but I considered it.

By the end, it picks up again. There’s new twists and things end on a note I am satisfied with. But even with all the good, the bad is just too great. This is a roller coaster where the highs are exciting but the lows make you want to die. I fear the rest of the series will be just the same. I wish I could tell you if that was true, but I have no intention of picking up the rest… at least not anytime soon.

By recommendation? Read at your own risk.

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Book Review: The Gods of Gotham – 5/5

gotham

 

The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Engrossing! This book had me hooked from the start. I’m not one who often tackles mysteries but this has so many other nuances – historical fiction, romantic interest, poetry – it’s going to be pleasing to all kind of readers.

Let’s start with the last I mentioned; the poetry. Faye’s writing is beautiful. I just love the way the story is described. The unfortunateness of an audiobook is how hard it is to dog-ear favorite lines but I have a lot of them. The way people grimaced, the way the sun fell over the city, the smells and sounds of the day all were described so uniquely and so beautifully. It fit is really well with the setting and I think that manner of seeing the world a little differently helped us as the reader understand the main character as well. It was like the general narration was a part of what made Tim such a great detective- he already saw the world in a unique way.

Let’s add that on to the historical fiction – oh, I love the setting. So interesting, so changing. I adored the use of the different language and jargon – it worked extremely well in the book. Very pleasingly hard to follow at times. It wasn’t just thrown in there to be in there – Faye used it well.

The characters in this story are unique – people in particular like Valentine and Mercy are a mixed bag of questions. They really off-set the other cast of characters. That’s the thing with mysteries that is always hard – you have to have a good sequence of people so the suspect list isn’t too short, but you can’t flesh out everyone. Having two really unique people I thought helped balance it out nicely. The fact that these people meant a lot to the main character – brother and love-interest respectively – made it all that more important that they were the interesting ones.

Lastly, of course, there’s the plot. It was a truly good story! Unique background that kept me guessing. Toward the end I had a very good understanding but it wasn’t so far in advance that it was predictable.

And that’s that! I don’t have a bad thing to say about the book. Recommend!

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Book Review: Golden Earrings – 5/5

Golden Earrings by Belinda Alexandra

golden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, this book.

Do you ever read a historical fiction and think, “This must have happened.” It was so expertly woven, the truth and tales of the times intermingled with the fiction so beautifully I thought it had to be true. The richness of the story, though certainly not all uplifting, felt like something that just had to have happened. Of course, I realize that’s not the case, but I don’t think I’ll be able to ever think about the Spanish Civil War without imagining La Rusa’s impact.

I adored this (audio) book. It’s a historical fiction that reads like a mystery. I knew the instant I picked this up it would be a winner of my heart: Spain, flamenco, and ballet? It’s like Alexandra knew what draws me to a story and decide to put it all into one place – beautifully at that. If you don’t already have a soft spot for any of those items, you’ll be hard pressed to walk away from this tale without one.

What more is there to say? Paloma, Evelina, Celestina – Golden Earrings is a tale of strong women who are impacted by a terrible war. It’s a story about how people react when their lives are altered by others’ choices. It’s not a story about making all the right decisions. Each and every one of the characters in this novel make mistakes – very large mistakes – that send waves of impacts down the line for years. But mistakes don’t make a person, and Alexandra’s weaving of the characters shows that mistakes can be made by good people, but that good people aren’t immune to hard choices.

This is a little known novel that needs some serious love. It’s incredibly via audio book and I’m sure just as good on paper. Highly recommend,and I will definitely be picking up more of Alexandra in the future.

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Book Review: Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella – 3/5

Wedding Night by Sophie Kinsella

Weddingnight

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I power read this book and, normally, with a power read, it means the book was soaring. Not so today. I really, really wanted to love this book (after all, I’ve Got Your Number is one of my favorite books out there) but it just didn’t happen. I tried. I read it with gusto. I laughed aloud at parts. I wanted the love to flow, and it just couldn’t happen.

Thinking back, there was just no one I felt I could root for. I like a good flawed characters but these ones were just too much. Fliss and Lottie, two sisters, did nothing by lie to each other (and truly, everyone) all the time. It became so frustrating – you got to the point as a reader where you just wanted all the action to stop and for some conversations to happen. It just seemed all too illogical. And – this is going to sound horrible – but the addition of Fliss’s child, Noah, was terrible. It just made her look like a horrible parent. Instead of being a comic relief, the child was obnoxious and made Fliss out to be completely incompetent at life. Without her son, I think I could have liked her. Don’t get me started with Lottie – she’s dumber than a box of rocks and I couldn’t identify with her at all.

Next, there is not one, not two, but three potential love interests in the book and – honestly – they all kind of suck. Each one is wrapped up in his own issues and, even though these issues chance and evolve, they never seem to truly mesh up to the right parts at the end. Lorcan gets the closest, but even he doesn’t make it there. It all just kind of… ends. I don’t get the sense that any of them will truly be happier because of it.

I’m disappointed by the book. I had some pretty high hopes. Parts are certainly cute and I did laugh aloud; the idea of the wait staff keeping the lovers at bay was hysterical. As this is my second Kinsella I won’t let it stop me from trying some of her other works, but it’s still painful. For me, it just missed the mark.

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YA Book Review: Paper Towns by John Green – 5/5

Paper Towns by John Green

Papertowns

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John Green is some kind of word magician. Or plot sorcerer. Or character wizard. I don’t know what exactly, but the point is that Green is filled with glitter and rainbows and confetti magic.

I devoured this book in less than a day. When I closed the final page I just gave one nod and said, “Nailed it.” Green knows exactly what he is doing in all his stories.

When a book is truly 5 stars I don’t feel like my reviews are needed. What’s there to say? Go read this book is pretty much sufficient. But, still, I suppose I can relay a little of what makes this beautiful.

I have never seen a better trio of boy friends. Q, Radar, and Ben are fantastic. Green’s dialogue is perfect. You can see each person, you can understand who they are, and, even better, you can understand why the three of them are friends. That’s a lot to know about people who aren’t the main stars in a relatively short book.

Then, of course, there’s Margo. Probably the only thing that is a stretch is the relationship between her and Q – it’s too stale in their history for it to start being friendly again now, but I’ll take it. Regardless, I love all the different ways we see her and the influence she can have on people.

There’s life lessons galore but there’s so much to giggle at as well. Such a wonderful book.

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YA Book Review: Mila 2.0 – 1/5

MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

No. This book is just a giant no.

There are so many obnoxious things about this story. I really, really wish I hadn’t even finished it. I slogged through it because I had a theory and, of course, it wasn’t until I got to the end that it occurred to me I might not be able to test my theory until the next book in the series, and there’s no way I’m picking up that brick.

For a book about an android/cyborg/whatever you want to call Mila, it was freaking boring. Mila is the lamest machine-like-thing ever. She can do crazy ninja-like moves, which is cool if predictable, but what else? She can insert a microchip into her wrist (but can barely process it) and she has GPS. That’s it. So. Lame.

Nothing about what she is makes sense. “Mila” is supposedly some kind of weapon the U.S. has made? Why in the world would they EVER design an android weapon to take the shape of a teenage girl? Dumb. And this entire project is run by two scientists? Equally dumb.

There is just so much about this that is absurd. I can’t resist naming a few:

1) Kaylee, her so-called best friend of a month, tries to kill her over a boy who moved into town two days before. The crazy of that situation was so glossed over.

2) Mila’s “love” for a boy who, again, had been around for two days. Why? There is zero connection. I’m so suspicious of him but we don’t get any more information before the end of the book, so I have no way of knowing if my guess is right (seriously, though, Mila is on the run from a “secret organization” who “knows no bounds” and a strange guy shows up, all handsome, decides he loves Mila, and his name? HUNTER. *slow blink*)

3) Mila has all this attachment to her school, and friends, and horse, and mother, etc, but she’s truly only been “alive” for a month. For a machine with human feelings she has about 500% the amount of feelings anyone has for anything in that length of time.

And then – there’s the biggest, most ridiculous thing of all. It’s after Mila and her mother’s capture (sorry for the spoilers, seriously though, you don’t want to read this book) and the scientist is putting her through “tests. ” Apparently if she can show that she doesn’t have emotions (when they already know she does) then she can live. So they decide to put her through these tests using emotion as the main incentive for her to succeed. In the final test she literally has to go through a Tough Mudder-like course all the while watching TV screens of her mother slowly being burned to death.

I’m sorry but if Mila works so hard to win at these games isn’t that showing exactly how her emotions are controlling her actions and not her logic? A true machine would look at this obstacle course and be all like “that seems like a risk to a lot of people and myself just to save one woman.”

I always feel a little guilty when I go into these rants, but I just can’t get over how little sense this book made. If you were thinking about picking this up, just stop. If you want to read a good book about a young adult cyborg lady, pick up Cinder instead.

Categories: Debuts, Put Downs, Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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